Having appendicitis itself can be extremely painful, but then even after you have an appendectomy you may still not feel yourself. I didn’t feel 100% comfortable after my appendectomy but with time I was able to do more things and feel better. Here are some things you may like to know about your appendectomy and recovering.
An Appendectomy is a surgery to take out the appendix. The appendix is a small, finger like pouch that extends from the large intestine. Scientists are not completely sure of the function of the appendix since it is not a vital organ. However they suspect that the appendix may have a role in the immune system in addition to the digestive system.
If your appendix gets inflamed, this is known as appendicitis and it dangerous. This is because sometimes an inflamed appendix can burst or rupture. If the appendix bursts it can cause the whole of the abdominal cavity to become infected. That’s why it has to be treated quickly and the appendix may need to be taken out.
There are two ways to remove the appendix.
By a 2-3 inch incision in the lower right side of the appendix
Or Larascopic surgery, with an instrument (which is the larascope), through small incisions on the abdomen.
When you leave the hospital, you should have someone drive you home and stay with you for at least 24 hours.
You will likely have pain in the lower right side of your abdomen for a few days after the surgery. It is important to treat your pain as soon as it starts. Managing your pain will help you rest and be able to move around.
It is also vital to tell your healthcare provider if your pain medicine doesn’t keep you comfortable.
You will receive a prescription for pain medicine from your doctor when you go home. If not you can taken Acetaminophen (eg. Tylenol, paracetamol) or Ibruprofen (eg. Advil, Motrin). Follow the directions on the package or ask your doctor or pharmacist.
If your appendix was taken out by Larascopy, you may feel pain or stiffness in your shoulders and neck. You may also get a headache.
When you can drink, start with small amounts of clear fluid (like water, ginger ale, apple juice). You can go back into your normal diet when you feel comfortable.
Eat extra fibre. This will also help prevent constipation. (You can get constipated after surgery if you are taking medicine with codeine (like Tylenol #3). A stool softener like Coolace will also help with constipation.
Drink 6 -8 glasses of water each day.
After surgery you may have paper tapes and a clear dressing on your incision. This should stay on for 7-10 days. Your doctor will tell you when to remove the dressing. You can shower with the paper tapes and clear dressing on.
Gauze dressings will be removed 24-48 hours after surgery- make sure to take this off before you shower. If there has been drainage from the wound, put on a new gauze dressing. If there hasn’t been any drainage – just leave the incision open to the air. This is best.
Dissolvable stitches will absorb in 1-2 weeks as your body heals.
Don’t take a bath, go in a hot tub, or go swimming until the stitches/paper tapes are removed and the incision is healed. This will take about 7-10 days.
Rest up well and talk to your doctor if you have nausea, vomiting, fever, a bloated painful abdomen etc.
After my appendectomy, I got some cozy new bedding which helped me feel more comfortable during my recovery.
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